A fascinating 20th century literary strain, “documentary poetics,” melds journalistic accounts, photography, official texts and memos, politics, and scientific and technical writing with lyrical and literary language.[...]
Richard Feynman knew his stuff. Had he not, he probably wouldn’t have won the Nobel Prize in Physics, let alone his various other prestigious scientific awards.[...]
The denial of science has entered the highest levels of government, and no matter what the data says, the U.S. promises to cease all efforts to curtail, or even study, climate change.[...]
Since our website took flight a decade ago, we’ve kept you apprised of the free offerings made available by NASA–everything from collections of photography and space sounds, to software, ebooks, and posters. But there’s one item we missed last summer (blame it on the heat!).[...]
One potential drawback of genius, it seems, is restlessness, a mind perpetually on the move. Of course, this is what makes many celebrated thinkers and artists so productive. That and the extra hours some gain by sacrificing sleep. Voltaire reportedly drank up to 50 cups of coffee a day, and seems to have suffered no particularly ill effects.[...]
You don’t need to know anything at all about classical music, nor have any liking for it even, to be deeply moved by that most famous of symphonies, Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th—“perhaps the most iconic work of the Western musical tradition,” writes The Juilliard Journal in an article about its handwritten score.[...]
It takes a special kind of person to calmly debate those who prefer dogma to reason and who insist on ignoring or distorting evidence to suit their preconceptions. Carl Sagan was such a person. Among his many other scientific accomplishments, he became legendary for his skill as an educator and science advocate.[...]
Two professors at the University of Washington, Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, have created a website meant to accompany a potential college seminar entitled “Calling Bullshit.” Here’s how Bergstrom and West explain the premise of their course. It’s worth quoting them at length.
The world is awash in bullshit.
There have been many theories of how human history works. Some, like German thinker G.W.F. Hegel, have thought of progress as inevitable. Others have embraced a more static view, full of “Great Men” and an immutable natural order. Then we have the counter-Enlightenment thinker Giambattista Vico.[...]
Creative Commons image by Steve Parker
It can seem like a cruel irony that some of the most celebrated people of our day didn’t receive the same acclaim during their sometimes troubled lives.